As winter sets in, people in Karnali are migrating to warmer climesPolice personnel deployed up north have also moved to the district headquarters.
As the winter sets in, people from far-flung hills in Karnali Province, especially the remote corners of Humla, Mugu and Dolpa, have begun migrating southwards, towards the plains to escape the biting cold that the region sees every year.
Meanwhile, as the people migrate southwards, police personnel deployed across border points up north have moved to the district headquarters, Simikot.
Security personnel from seven police posts in Upper Dolpa have already arrived in Dunai about a week ago. Also displaced are personnel from Saldang, in Shey Phoksundo Rural Municipality, and Dho, in Dolpo Buddha Rural Municipality. According to the District Police Office, the personnel were called to the headquarters with the onset of winter.
This is how it plays out every year in these districts that see heavy snowfall in peak winter.
DSP Narayan Ranjitkar, who is chief of District Police Office, said that the office calls the security personnel every year in view of the unbearable cold during the winter. “We are compelled to do so because the personnel can’t operate in extreme weather situations,” Ranjitkar said. “There aren’t enough infrastructure and resources to combat the cold in far-flung posts.”
There are 20 permanent police posts and seven temporary ones in Dolpa. Of them, six operate from headquarters during winter. But those who remain in their villages feel insecure with lack of police posts, said Tasi Tundup Gurung, chief of Dolpa’s Shey Phoksundo Rural Municipality.
Humla District Police Office, too, is preparing to move several police posts to headquarters, said Inspector Rajendra Bahadur Singh. “The posts will move within this week,” Singh said. “With the settlements emptying out, there’s virtually no reason for police personnel to operate in remote villages.” Meanwhile, security personnel in Mugu are waiting for official order to move to the headquarters.
The Limi village in Humla, which is located at an altitude of 4,000m from the sea level, is emptying out, said Gimet Lama, a local. “During peak winter, we can’t move outside the house,” Lama said. “So we are compelled to move south.” Most people in Humla’s north move to Surkhet, Nepalgunj and Kathmandu and engage in business there. Others travel to India for work. During the five winter months, all offices and schools shut down.
Bishnu Lal Devkota in Dolpa and Chhapal Lama in Humla contributed reporting.